Staff Reporter

Thrissur: Controversies over the coiffure of Mohiniyattom dancers are irrelevant, dancer Kanak Rele has said.

Addressing a press meet here on Saturday, in connection with a festival organised by Bharatham, she said the world of dance should concentrate on other aesthetic and academic issues rather than create such controversies.

A recipient of the Kalidas Samman, Ms. Rele recalled her long association with Kavalam Narayana Panicker, which led to the revival of a style of presentation that used Sopanam music and indigenous Kerala talas.

"My love for Mohiniyattom was kindled by my initial training in Kathakali. Since 1966, I have researched extensively on Kerala texts on dance and practice of dramaturgy based on the Natyasastra, and documented the styles practised by veterans. The family of Vallathol Narayana Menon, poet and founder of Kalamandalam, was very supportive," she said.

Asked about the response of Kerala-based Mohiniyattom dancers to her work, she said she was initially hurt by the unkind remarks. "They couldn't accept a non-Keralite doing work in this area. But all that has changed. Today, they accept me as one among them."

Indu Kumar and Nilayangode Narayanan, office-bearers of Bharatham, and Madhuri Deshmukh, dancer, were among those present on the occasion.